What Does a Pet Insurance Sales Agent Do?
Learn About the Salary, Required Skills & More
Pet insurance agents offer health insurance coverage policies for a variety of pet species. Pet insurance serves to minimize sudden significant veterinary costs for pet owners in the event that a medical situation should arise for a pet.
Ideally, an agent will help clients choose a plan that best suits them and be knowledgeable about the types of plans available. The agent may take into consideration factors such as the age and species of the pet, as well as what types of coverage the owner will want to include (i.e. cancer treatment, routine preventative care, prescription drugs).
Pet insurance is technically a subcategory of property and casualty insurance, and claims are usually submitted to the insurance company for processing after veterinary treatment is administered. While dogs and cats are the most frequently insured pets, there are various plans available for birds, reptiles, and other exotic species.
Pet Insurance Sales Agent Duties & Responsibilities
Being a pet insurance sales agent generally requires the ability to do the following work:
- Perform advertising and marketing tasks to connect with potential clients
- Interview prospective clients to discover their needs related to pet insurance
- Explain features of different policies to clients
- Customize and recommend pet insurance policies to meet the needs of clients and their pets
- Process and maintain all electronic and paper records related to clients' policies
- Renew existing pet insurance policies as needed
Pet Insurance Sales Agent Salary
Total compensation for pet insurance agents may include a combination of base salary, commission, bonuses, and health care benefits. Field agents may also have use of a company car and business expense account. Total earnings may also vary widely based on sales volume and years of experience.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't offer salary rates for pet insurance agents specifically. However, it does offer national wage estimates for the broader insurance sales agent category, which can include pet insurance:
- Median Annual Salary: $49,710
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $125,190
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $27,180
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2017
Education, Training & Certification
In addition obtaining and maintaining the proper licensing, successful pet insurance reps must continuously educate themselves about the insurance industry, advances in veterinary medicine, and the specific plan options they're selling.
- Education: Pet insurance agents often have at least a bachelor's degree in business or a related field, but a college degree is not usually required.
- Experience: Ideally, pet insurance agents will also have prior experience working in an animal health-related field, preferably in a veterinary clinic, so they will already be familiar with medical treatments and terminology. They should also have some experience with writing, public speaking, marketing techniques, and computer-based technology.
- Licensing and certification: In general, insurance agents must be licensed by the state in which they plan to sell insurance services. Requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, but most jurisdictions require a preparatory course, exam, and continuing education credits to maintain their license. Some organizations also offer additional certifications in certain areas of expertise, such as pet insurance.
Pet Insurance Sales Agent Skills & Competencies
To be successful in this role, you’ll generally need the following skills and qualities:
- Sales skills: Being a pet insurance sales agent is essentially a sales job. Knowing sales techniques and being able to confidently apply them is a crucial part of being successful in this job.
- Analytical skills: Agents must be able to figure out which plans may best meet their customers' needs based on analyzing a variety of factors.
- Communication skills: Agents must be able to listen to pet owners' needs and effectively talk about how the different policies could meet those needs.
- Initiative: In order to grow and maintain a customer base, an agent must actively seek new customers.
- Appreciation of animals: A shared affection for animals could help a pet insurance agent close a deal with a pet lover. Agents who don't like animals themselves could have a harder time connecting with pet owners.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not separate data specifically for pet insurance agents, they indicate that the number of jobs for all insurance agents will increase at a solid rate of approximately 10 percent from 2016 to 2026.
However, other research shows that more and more people are insuring their pets—which could further boost job growth in the pet subsection of the insurance industry.
Since 2013, North America has seen a steady increase in the number of insured pets, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). From 2016 to 2017, the number of insured pets rose 17 percent, according to NAPHIA.
Generally, pet insurance agents can be captive or independent. Captive agents work for either a single insurance company, which means they can only sell policies provided by that company. Independent insurance agents generally work with insurance brokerages to offer the policies of several insurance companies.
Pet insurance agents, much like veterinary pharmaceutical sales reps, can either have inside sales or field sales positions. The majority of pet insurance sales positions are office based “inside sales” jobs, but field sales positions do exist.
Inside sales positions do not involve much (if any) travel; reps conduct business over the phone or online. Field sales positions require frequent travel throughout a designated territory, as the reps visit veterinary offices, pet stores, conventions, and pet industry trade shows to market their company’s insurance products.
According to the U.S. BLS, most insurance sales agents work full time, and about one in five work more than 40 hours per week. Hours may vary depending on the specific job or the company or broker you work for. Some sales agents only work regular business hours, while others may have a more flexible schedule. Again, the data provided by the BLS doesn't separate pet insurance agents specifically, but it covers the general insurance sales agent category, which includes selling pet insurance.
Comparing Similar Jobs
People who are interested in becoming pet insurance agents may also consider other careers with these median salaries:
- Advertising sales agent: $49,680
- Insurance underwriter: $69,760
- Real estate broker and sales agent: $47,880
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Where to Get a Job Selling Pet Insurance
If you want to work directly for a pet insurance company, you can start by looking at openings at The Best Pet Insurance Companies ranked by The Balance.